Scientists are studying various steady energy source alternatives for small biomedical sensors, including piezoelectric power.
University of Illinois researchers have attached small, flexible strips (piezoelectric nanoribbons) to internal organs of animals, and harvested energy from their movement to power pacemakers and other medical devices. Current practice depends on hard-to-change batteries.
This is a minimally invasive power source, which in the future can be activated by muscle activity other than the heart muscle, with potential implications for glucose pumps and other devices. The researchers claim that their system is a “complete, flexible, and integrated system that is capable of harvesting and storing energy from the natural contractile and relaxation motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm at levels that meet requirements for practical applications.”